Disclaimer: I am NOT what you would call “incredibly crafty” and I’m also pretty bad at writing tutorials (How I successfully wrote 12 Montessori albums, I’ll never know). I also haven’t taken the Assistants to Infancy training, so if there’s a different/better way to do this, please leave your comments below for the benefit of all readers.
A few months ago I wrote about the Gobbi mobile, which is a favorite among babies starting around 8 weeks of age. Several readers have asked me for a tutorial, so here goes…
Materials (can be purchased at Michael’s, JoAnn’s, or other craft stores):
- Embroidery floss (aka, thread) in five ascending shades of one color (you will need 2-3 skeins of each shade). Take a look at this list of suggested shades!
- Five styrofoam balls, about 1.5 to 2 inches in diameter
- One embroidery needle (MUST be longer than the diameter of the balls)
- One dowel (about 12 inches long)
- The patience of a Buddhist monk
Instructions: (Click on pictures to enlarge)
Use the dowel to carefully bore a hole in each of the spheres. Try to get the hole to run straight through the center of the sphere. You can wiggle the dowel a bit as it’s going in, or scrape the sides of the hole once it’s made, so that the diameter of the hole is slightly larger than the diameter of the dowel (this will be helpful when threading the embroidery floss over and over again through the hole).
Prepare a long piece of floss (about 48″) and thread your needle. (Note: I’ve seen some people thread the entire skein of floss at one time, but I have found that it gets tangled up and frayed.)
Pass your needle with the floss through the hole in one sphere, until most of it has passed through and you only have a small “tail” of floss sticking out. Smooth that “tail” onto the sphere (the styrofoam will help to grip the thread) and bring the needle around to the hole where you started.
Insert the needle again, pass the thread through, and make sure that you “step” on the tail with the thread that is now wrapped from one end of the sphere to the other.
Bring the needle back around, and repeat, threading it into the hole and pulling the thread through. Try to keep the resulting strands of thread as close together as possible, so they begin to cover up the white of the sphere.
When you’ve used up all the thread on the needle, leave a little tail and smooth it down onto the sphere.Thread your needle with more floss, insert in the hole, and repeat the process from step #3. Eventually, your entire sphere will be covered in floss and no styrofoam will show through.
When you are done, pass the needle through the hole one last time and leave a length of floss about 12-16 inches long (this will be used for hanging the spheres).
Repeat the entire process with the next ball, using the next shade of embroidery floss.
Click here for Part II, where we discuss hanging the spheres. Happy crafting!!
28 thoughts on “Gobbi Tutorial, Part I”
I used double sided tape all around the ball (I had no embroidery floss) and “wrapped” in a sense, the ball with ribbon and then attached the ball to the string it hangs from via hat pin…it was hard to get the ribbon to lay flat on all sides, but it worked with careful laying. I found the black and white “balancing act” mobile really hard to make…the glass ball outweighs the rest of the pieces!
I loved your ribbon Gobbi! It has such a beautiful sheen… Could you send me a picture so I can post it? I’m sure the readers would love to see it. And yes, making the Munari was a PAIN. And the worst part is that it’s usually the one they’re least interested in! 🙂
Thanks for this tutorial…it does help!
thank you so much for sharing! super clear and helpful!!
Awesome, glad it helped you ladies! 🙂 I’ll post part II soon…
I’m curious. Is the Gobbi mobile named for Gianna Gobbi who worked with Maria Montessori in Rome and later helped develop the Montessori based Catechesis of the Good Shepherd with Sofia Cavalletti?
Yes, it is! 🙂
I am 34 weeks pregnant and I have been searching for a tutorial to make gobbi mobile.When I found your blog I was very happy.Thank you very much.
Truly appreciate your efforts!
Akila, congratulations on your pregnancy! I hope you enjoy making the Gobbi… Best of luck with your baby!
Thank you so much for thw tutorial, I posted over my blog here is the link:
Hi Patty, I’m glad you enjoyed the tutorial and I hope your readers will find it useful!
I am in the process of making another one. So far, it’s better than the one I made when I was in the training. Your blog instructions have helped. Thank you. I’m finding that a fellow trainees tip of sectioning it off is helpful. I’m off to the store to get a second skein of each of my colors. I hope I do better balancing my mobiles with your instructions too.
Do you have suggestions on hanging mobiles from the ceiling and from walls?
I’ll email a photo if you provide me with an email.
I just finished a blue gobbi mobile for my grandson. thanks for the clear directions.
Thanks for the tutorial. I live in the UK and managed to get all the supplies from Hobbycraft. Luckily I’m only 6 weeks pregnant so may get it finished in time. See what you mean about patience! I’ll post a photo when I’m done. Thanks again.
Could you use yarn instead of embroidery floss? Thanks for your instructions!
I guess you could, but embroidery floss has a lovely sheen to it that yarn doesn’t, and it makes for some very attractive and smooth spheres.
Thank you for your tutorial! If I figured out some helpful info in the process and thought I would share! First of all, I used the dense styrofoam that packing peanuts and disposable ice coolers are made of. It’s a lot smoother and easier to work with and more sturdy to boot. since I had this sturdier foam I was able to drill a hole straight through the core. You were right about needing the patience of a Buddhist monk, so in an effort to speed things up I strung the entire scheme through the needle and doubled it over and tied a knot at the end twice the coverage with half the pull through.! I also used a pair of needle nose pliers to pull the needle through on the last few passes when it gets difficult. I hope that helps you other momma crafters!!!
Excellent advice, thank you!!!